Herniated Disc Diagnosis

Diagnosing a herniated disc is relatively similar to other forms of vertebral disc injury diagnosis. Three steps are taken in the process:

  • First, the physician will take a medical history of the patient to find out when the pain was first noticed, what the patient was doing when it occurred, if there are any other symptoms the patient is feeling, what activities worsen the pain, as well as if there is anything the patient does to relieve the pain.
  • Next, a physical examination is then performed to test muscle strength in either the arms or legs, if there are problems with the patient’s reflexes, and if there is any change in their range of motion.
  • Lastly, a nerve test may also be performed to check for normal or abnormal function.

Diagnostic Tests for a Herniated Disc

Although an X-ray will not be of much use in determining whether there is a herniated disc or not, it may be used to rule out other conditions. A CT scan may be performed, but an MRI image will provide better pictures of the soft tissue (vertebral disc). A CT scan would likely be used when access to an MRI machine is not available or difficult to obtain. Once diagnosis is confirmed, treatment may begin.